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Endocrinologists alert to ‘epidemic’ of obesity, related disorders

By Chukwuma Muanya
29 December 2022   |   4:06 am
Endocrinologists under the aegis of Endocrine and Metabolism Society of Nigeria (EMSON) have alerted to epidemic of obesity and related disorders in the country, especially among children.

Obesity PHOTO:AFP

•Identify diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, kidney damage as grave consequences of overweight
•Advocate inclusion of specialised services for both adults, children in NHIA to help lessen financial burden on individuals, improve access

Endocrinologists under the aegis of Endocrine and Metabolism Society of Nigeria (EMSON) have alerted to epidemic of obesity and related disorders in the country, especially among children.

EMSON, in a communiqué jointly signed by the President, Prof. Olufemi A. Fasanmade; and Secretary-General, Prof. Andrew E. Uloko, which was released at the end of its 43rd Yearly General Meeting and Scientific Conference (YGMSC) in Lagos, identified diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, kidney damage, arthritis and other cardiovascular diseases as grave consequences of being obese.

To address the menace, the endocrinologists, among other things, advocate inclusion of specialised services for both adults and children in National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to help lessen financial burden on individuals and improve access.

The Society made the following observations: “Obesity is prevalent in our society especially among the paediatric age group, and it is not only among the affluent but cuts across all socio-economic strata.

“Obesity is fast becoming an epidemic and it is not restricted to any geopolitical zone.

“Wrong diet choices especially replacing home cooked food with the fast food and processed food will see obesity and related disorders reach epidemic proportions in not too distant future.

“The increasing prevalence of obesity is impacting negatively on the heath of the populace.

“The drivers of obesity are globalisation and urbanisation which affects our food culture and consumption habits which lead to energy imbalance.

“Diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular diseases are grave consequences of obesity. However, access to Endocrinology healthcare services is still grossly inadequate in Nigeria.”

EMSON said the number of endocrinologists produced has been on the decline because of the brain drain in the health sector and this is further compounded by migration of the few endocrinologists to foreign lands in search of greener pastures and better working environments.

The endocrinologists said the cost of accessing care is remarkably high, unaffordable and prohibitive to many persons and families of people with endocrine and metabolic problems in Nigeria, as healthcare financing for these services remain largely out-of-pocket.

They said the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) needs to improve the scope of Endocrine and metabolic care given to Nigerians.

They said there is need for increased advocacy and collaboration for capacity building, research, and training in endocrine and metabolic disease healthcare in Nigeria.

They said there is need to strengthen local workforce development and utilisation of local resources was re-emphasised.

EMSON resolved to continue its advocacy as a major stakeholder in shaping the policy for endocrine and metabolic health among adults and children in Nigeria; to call for increased governmental and non-governmental funding for Endocrine and Metabolic health, research, and training; and to call for improved public health enlightenment by all stakeholders on the scope of endocrinology and metabolic healthcare services available in Nigeria and the need to reduce, if not stop medical tourism.

The endocrinologists called on government to put actions and policies in place to stem the brain drain currently decimating the work force in Nigeria in general and the endocrinology specialty in particular.

They “strongly advocate for the inclusion of specialised services for both adults and children in the National Health Insurance Authority. This will help to lessen the financial burden on individuals and improve access to these services.”

According to the communiqué, the 44th Yearly General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the Endocrine and Metabolism Society of Nigeria will hold in Port Harcourt, River State, Nigeria in September 2023.

The theme of the 43rd YGMSC was “Obesity and Overweight in Nigeria: Research, Challenges and Management.” The sub-themes were- “Childhood Obesity: An Emerging Health Challenges”; “Diabetes and Cardiovascular Health”; “Bioinformatics in Endocrine Practice”; and “Disorders of Sexual Differentiation.”

The meeting was preceded by a pre-conference update course, which held on September 28, 2022 at the Surgical Skills Centre, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba. 46 participants comprising of Consultant Endocrinologists and Resident Doctors in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism (EDM) specialty attended this update course.

The conference had in attendance three hundred delegates comprising Adult Endocrinologists, Paediatric Endocrinologists, Anatomists, Biochemists, Physiologists, Resident Doctors training to be Endocrinologists, International speakers, members of the pharmaceutical industry and invited dignitaries.

The opening ceremony for the scientific conference held on the September 29, 2022 under the distinguished Chairmanship of Olor’ogun (Dr.) Sonny F. Kuku the co-founder, EKO Hospital (Ekocorp Plc.).

The keynote lecture titled ‘Obesity: The time bomb in Nigeria’ was delivered by Prof. Felicia Anumah. There were three plenary lectures (with topics derived from the conference theme and subthemes) delivered by the invited international speakers who were authorities and leading professors in the fields of the lecture topics delivered virtually.

Four members of the EMSON were awarded the prestigious Fellow of the Endocrine and Metabolism Society of Nigeria (FEMSON) distinction. Fifteen new full members and five associate members were inducted into the Society at a colourful induction ceremony.

Sixty-five scientific papers were presented as abstracts (oral and moderated posters) during the conference. There were also robust discussions during the symposia, workshops and meet the expert that held as plenary and parallel sessions.

The society elected a new leadership that was immediately sworn-in to assume office effective January 1, 2023. The members of this new executive council are: Prof. Aihanuwa Eregie – President; Prof. Andrew Uloko – First Vice President; Dr. Afoke Isiavwe – Second Vice President; Dr. William Balogun – Third Vice President; Dr. Oluwarotimi Olopade – Secretary General; Dr. Opeoluwa Fasanmade – Treasurer; Prof. Andrew Edo – Internal Auditor; Dr. Michael Olamoyogun – Publicity Secretary; and Prof. Christian Okafor – Curator.

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